Fear of MAGA backlash is threatening to make enforcing law ‘merely optional’: columnist

Letting Donald Trump remain on the ballot in Colorado and Maine will be a signal to Trump’s followers that violence works — and they’re in charge, a columnist warned Thursday.

Salon’s Amanda Marcotte was reacting to “hand-wringing” commentators who worry that ruling that Trump is an insurrectionist who, under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, has no right to stand for public office will spark angry backlash from the former president’s rabid supporters.

Those expressing concerns of repercussions are “gaining traction with their short-sighted stance that prioritizes their immediate fear of being yelled at over the long-term dangers to our democracy,” the columnist wrote.

She said the worry is that Trump’s fans, who already stormed the Capitol in the belief that something untoward had happened during the 2020 election, would be even more furious if their candidate was removed from the vote completely.

But she added fear of consequences can’t be held up as a reason not to take required action.

“The voters in question are MAGA voters, who already claim that democracy was ended in 2020,” she said. “Polling shows fewer than a third of Republican voters accept that President Joe Biden won in 2020.

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“If the concern is that they’ll latch onto some conspiracy theory about how Democrats stole ‘their’ democracy, and thus they’re justified in using illegal and violent means to regain control, guess what? They’re already there,” she argued.

Marcotte said that, under the law, it was clear that Trump had to be removed.

“Most arguments for allowing Trump on the ballot rely on treating the Constitution’s clear guidance as merely optional,” she said. “Once you start reading about legal arguments on each side, what becomes swiftly clear is there is no good argument for keeping Trump in the race. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, as both Colorado’s Supreme Court and Maine’s secretary of state have correctly decided, is clear in its language: Anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the U.S., after taking an oath of office, is forbidden from running again.”

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